On Avatar, casting, and other such matters (AKA why doesn’t Hollywood have a clue?)

http://www.racialicious.com/2009/01/22/avatar-get-a-tan-become-asian/

I’m a big fan of adaptations sticking very close to the originals. I get very angry when things stray far from where they were intended to be for no good reason (there are some places where it is inevitable, and that’s fine, so long as Zaphod’s heads are side by side and not one on top of the other). Traditionally this has only applied to movie

I should not exist
I should not exist

adaptations of books (I’m looking at you, Twilight– and seriously, don’t they come up with any original ideas anymore?) but this new trend of anime/manga to movies might do me in. I’ve previously discussed my disdain for the casting of Keanu Reeves as Spike from Cowboy Bebop, but at least Spike is intended to be Caucasian, albeit Martian Caucasian. Similarly, the mulling over of Keira Knightley for Faye irks me a bit more (it’s easily determined from an old video that Faye is Singaporean, and her features do lean to the Asian side) but since her national identity is not at all crucial to the story I’m more irritated that Keira couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag-no less be a voluptuous trickster tomboy.

Avatar, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. Although I’m not a huge fan of the series (which comes simply from being born too late), the entirety of the story is based in Asian legend and folklore. It is a crucial element that the characters are, in fact, from a variety of different Asian cultures. Why the hell are we going to have white kids running around with tans (seriously, did they need to say that? OMG.) when there are scores of young, aspiring Asian actors and actresses who would die happy for just being considered? In a show so intricately woven into elements of Asian culture, there is no logical reason to not cast appropriately. Tan them as much as you want (which, by the way, is super insulting; didn’t we stop with blackface a long time ago? why is tanning a white kid to look asian a-okay?) they still aren’t going to be able to play the part accurately for anyone who thinks, no less fans of the series. They should have taken this movie as an opportunity to teach the young ones about the different Asian cultures- then maybe more of them could pass the test on All Look Same.

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1 Response so far »

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    […] if it’s not painfully obvious by now with my running dialogue about terrible miscasting of anime characters, I have a special distaste in the deepest cockles of my heart for the use of […]


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